Category Archives: Consumer View

7 Mistakes Millennials Make in Home-Buying

7 Mistakes Millennials Make in Home-Buying

 

Millennials – they’re the generation between 18 and 35; the new young professionals; the recent graduates, and they’re also coming into the housing market in droves. Usually, they’re also first-time homebuyers, which means that they have the potential to make mistakes in the home-purchasing process.

Here are the top seven mistakes millennials make when they purchase a new home. Whether you consider yourself part of the generation or you’re just looking to ensure your home search goes as smoothly as possible, these tips should help any potential homebuyer.

 

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What Is Holding You Back From Financial Freedom

money-flying-out-the-window
Financial freedom doesn’t mean watching it fly out the window.

Money Sabotage

Your financial freedom is just around the corner.  You just have to choose the path that doesn’t hold you back.  While money can certainly buy you plenty of things, it can offer you something far more valuable than material things.  The more money you acquire and properly pour into channels that can support you now and into the future.  When you do this the more freedom you have to make choices based on desire and not financial obligation or necessity.

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Credit Lessons Your Parents Didn’t Teach You

Doug-Show-CardCredit Lessons

Paying interest is really painful.  It can be difficult to take the wisdom from the generations that lived through their life lessons.  When it comes to analyzing your parents credit it just may help you understand what not to do or what to do.

Here are some lessons we wish our parents had shared:

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Is Your Bank Account Leaking Money?

leaky-boat
Is your bank account leaking money?

Is Your Bank Account Leaking Money?

When was the last time you really looked at your bank account?  It is easy to miss small amounts of money  every month until you get declined or a check bounces.  When this happens it creates awareness around your money situation.

Here are a few ways that you can plug the leaking:

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Shopping Around For a Mortgage?

Shopping Around For A Mortgage

Here’s the inside scoop on how to do it right!

First:  Are you working with a TRUE Mortgage Professional?

The largest financial transaction of your life is far too important to place into the hands of someone who is not capable of advising you properly and troubleshooting the issues that may arise along the way.  But how can you tell?If your shopping just rates you may want to consider who your lender is going to be to handle your transaction.

 Here are FOUR SIMPLE QUESTIONS YOUR LENDER ABSOLUTELY MUST BE ABLE TO ANSWER CORRECTLY.  IF THEY DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWERS… RUN…  DON’T WALK… RUN… TO A LENDER THAT DOES! To help narrow your search Doug Haldeman is that lender! Continue reading Shopping Around For a Mortgage?

Tesla’s New Solar Roof Tiles For Homes

Tesla Solar Roof Shingles
Tesla Solar Roof Shingles-Consumer Report Photo

Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles Get Approved

Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SolarCity (SCTY) shareholders had voted to approve the companies’ $2.6 billion tie-up.  Elon Musk told investors that the new clean energy behemoth would now be able to provide homeowners with a solar roof that costs less than a traditional roof before factoring in the savings from energy generation.

“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof actually cost less than normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,” he said in a speech after the vote was called. “So the basic proposition would be ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity’ why would you get anything else.”

Continue reading Tesla’s New Solar Roof Tiles For Homes

What’s Happening With Auto Premiums

Elaine Mahr Farmers Insurance Agent
Elaine Mahr Farmers Insurance Agent

Auto Premiums Going Up

Americans are driving more, thanks to rising employment and cheaper gasoline. But that also means they’re getting into more accidents — and that’s leading to higher insurance premiums.

Of course, it’s not just a matter of more people cruising the roads. Unsafe behavior also may be contributing to a national accident problem, according to research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. A report by the Department of Transportation found about 94 percent of drivers engaged in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel within the past month, including using cell phones or not wearing seat belts.

Size of claims

The size of claims — which in industry lingo is called “claims severity” — is trending higher and affecting several auto insurance companies. Rising costs for medical care and auto repair are big drivers of increasing claims severity. The increasing price of auto parts contributes as well.

But critically, there are more personal auto claims as a result of Americans driving more miles. That trend, which is closely watched by industry analysts, can hurt the profitability of the insurance companies.

How do we mitigate cost?

  • Talk to Elain Mahr  today!  314.238.0055
  • Review Policy
  • Increase Deductible
  • Evaluate your car.  You can visit sites like www.nada.com or Kelly Blue book
  • Decide if you need Full or Liability Insurance
  • Good Student Discount

 

Business Insurance 101 with Insurance Expert Elaine Mahr

Elaine Mahr Expert Contributor show cardBusiness Insurance 101 with Farmers

Protecting your business is good business. Having the right insurance can be the difference between surviving a calamity and losing everything. Many business owners have learned the hard way that a lawsuit, theft, accident or natural disaster can wreak havoc on their companies.

Business Owner’s Policy

Often referred to as BOP, a business owner’s policy rolls multiple types of insurance into a single policy. Usually this is at a lower cost than buying each type of insurance individually. A business owner’s policy might include business property, business interruption and general liability coverage.

General Liability

This coverage helps protect your company if someone is injured at your place of business. I also covers if injuries or damage result from the use of your products or services. It can help shield your business from situations that could be perceived as negligence. Most general liability policies cover financial obligations such as medical costs, as well as legal defense expenses and settlement awards if your business is sued.

Professional Liability

Also known as errors and omissions insurance, this type of insurance helps protect your company from claims that its malpractice or negligence damaged a client or other third party.

Business Property

This insurance covers loss and damage to leased or owned company property resulting from a variety of events, such as fire, wind or vandalism. An “all risks” business property policy covers loss and damage from a range of sources, while a “named peril” policy specifies the types of hazards it covers.

Cyber Liability

Customers and employees trust you to store their information. From billing information to social security numbers. If someone stole that data, how would that impact your business?

For every time a company like Target gets hacked there are dozens of smaller companies that suffer data breaches.

Cyber liability insurance can cover you for the expenses you incur from a data breach.

Expenses such as…

  • Fixing the breach
  • Loss of income
  • Notifying your customers
  • Public relations
  • Lawsuits

Business Vehicle

This type of policy protects your business against damage to an owned or leased vehicle that you or your employees use for business purposes. It also provides coverage if a third party claims bodily injury or property damage related to an auto accident.

Business Interruption Insurance

This policy guards against the effects that come from unexpected events and natural disasters that might otherwise cause your company to temporarily relocate or close. It helps businesses maintain cash flow while they replace equipment and repair physical damage to their facilities. It typically provides reimbursement for up to a year of lost revenue.

Umbrella Liability

This type of insurance fills any gaps left by the insurance that your company carries. For example, if your general liability policy has a coverage limit, an umbrella policy will cover losses that exceed this amount. It can also provide protection in areas excluded by other policies. The premium for an umbrella policy may be lower if you purchase it from the same insurer who provides your other policies.

6 Reasons Buying A Tiny Home Could Be A Mistake

tinyhouse
Tiny House Trend

Buying a tiny home could be a mistake

When it comes to a tiny home, less may not always be more. It’s a trend that’s sweeping home improvement channels. Like, really tiny homes. And while they can be cute the price per square foot isn’t.

They are considered a mobile home with running water and plumbing, appliances, and everything you’d need in a place to live. The truth is, for investment purposes, it’s wildly impractical.

Translation? The trend probably won’t last long. It also means your return on investment is next to none. Here are five reasons why buying a tiny home may not be in your best interest.

1. It’s a fad

Just like platform sneakers and leisure suits were once popular but are now widely ridiculed, the tiny home trend is one that may be hot now but is likely to cool off before long. The key word is fad.  This is a totally unproven market, buoyed by the intense interest in reality TV.

Although there can be compelling reasons to want to simplify your life by reducing your financial obligations via less expensive housing options it is just hard to say how this trend will pay off in the long run.  The artificial interest caused by the TV trend and the uncertainty in a newer, unproven market make tiny homes a risky investment.  You can find a small home that falls into “Real Estate” investment that meets your communities standards to what constitutes as a home.  Even if you do not live in a “tiny home” you can draw inspiration from that minimal lifestyle and apply it to a home of any size.

2. Buyers are few

If you think the demand for a home that backs up to a major highway is slim, then you’ll be amazed at how few people are actually willing to pull the trigger on a tiny home.  Real estate sales are dependent on supply and demand.  A tiny home is not recommended because it only fits a small demographic of buyers in the market. The more restraints the property offers the market, the more niche it becomes. The more niche the home, the less buyers available for the home.  In other words: The supply may be great, but the demand is really, really small. (Pun Intended).   That’s not to say if you love it and plan to stay put for the long haul, you shouldn’t go for it. Just be prepared, because you might end up facing a really long on-the-market period when it’s time to sell.

3. It’s less marketable

The vast majority of tiny homes can accommodate one to two residents tops.  Basically this means many buyers who entertain or host overnight guests are simply uninterested in even considering a tiny home for their primary home or even vacation property.  Tiny homes are simply less marketable.  The average consumer needs more space, bedrooms, and bathrooms than a tiny home can offer. An average home allows buyers to grow into it and keep it long term. A tiny home offers restraints to changes in the lifestyle of the buyer.  A tiny home on a piece of property that offers space for an additional, larger home to be built later could be the exception here, giving the new owner a place to reside while a dream home is under construction (and a cozy place to host guests in the future!).

4. It’s too darn small

Sure, the concept of downsizing sounds nice, but let’s be honest: Most people have too many personal belongings to squeeze into a tiny home. You may have just graduated college or moved out of your parents basement but think of your future space you will need.  Most Americans like collecting a lot of ‘stuff’ and have a tough time finding storage space for all of it in a small, regular house that has a garage and basement.

In a tiny house you have just enough room for yourself but no options for expansion, storage, hobbies, nothing. Need to fix your car? You’re doing it in the snow or pay retail for someone else to do it. Have a cat or a dog? Where does the cat box go? Dogs don’t like being confined. Where do you put your lawn mower? Your rake and shovel? Going to have a baby? Your small house is now too small.

5. It’s not less expensive

Downsizing is supposed to help you and be less expensive. But that’s not necessarily the case with a tiny home.  There is no storage space, so you’ll need to rent a storage unit, which means paying for it, and then you have to go back and forth to it every time you need anything larger than a toothpick.  Want to have a party? Rent a venue. The list goes on. You can buy a plain old ‘non-tiny’ house for the same money and get much more utility from it.

Finally, most lenders have a minimum square footage they will lend on, so you’ll pay cash for your tiny home and so will your potential buyer, which eliminates most of the few remaining prospects you’ll have.

6. Place to put it

This increase in popularity of tiny houses, and particularly the rapid increase in the number of both amateur and professional builders, has led to concerns regarding safety among tiny house professionals. In 2013, an Alliance of tiny house builders was formed to promote ethical business practices and offer guidelines for construction of tiny houses on wheels.

Planning and Zoning

This effort was carried on in 2015 by the American Tiny House Association. In 2015, the nonprofit American Tiny House Association was formed to promote the tiny house as a viable, formally acceptable dwelling option and to work with local government agencies to discuss zoning and coding regulations that can reduce the obstacles to tiny living.

One of the biggest obstacles to growth of the tiny house movement is the difficulty in finding a place to live in one.  Zoning regulations typically specify minimum square footage for new construction on a foundation, and for tiny houses on wheels, parking on one’s own land may be prohibited by local regulations against “camping.”  In addition, RV parks do not always welcome tiny houses. DIYers may be turned away, as many RV parks require RVs be manufactured by a member of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association “(RVIA)”.

Is it an RV?

Tiny houses on wheels are considered RVs and not suitable for permanent residence, according to the RVIA. From RVBusiness, “The RVIA will continue to shy away from allowing members who produce products that are referred to as ‘tiny houses’ or ‘tiny homes’. (However, the RVIA does allow “tiny home” builders to join as long as their units are built to park model RV standards.)”

In 2014, the first “tiny house friendly town” was declared in Spur, Texas; however, it was later clarified that a tiny house may not be on wheels but must be secured to a foundation.

In July 2016, Washington County, Utah revised their zoning regulations to accommodate some types of tiny houses.

Homeowner’s Maintenance Checklist

Maintenance leaves-in-gutter
Clearing out the leaves from your gutters is an important home maintenace task.

Yearly Home Maintenance

Owning a home can be the most exciting time of your life.  Most people probably first think of the financial responsibility. Don’t let yourself forget about the time and labor that home ownership also requires. Keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep you from future headaches and wasted money.

It can be intimidating to think about these various tasks, especially if you’re a new homeowner. The good news is that you can do the majority of it on your own without much experience. Google is your best friend, and if you really get stuck, call up your local handyman to help you out.

Checklist

We have compiled a list of things you should make sure to do throughout the year. However, do what works for you and your schedule, and as long as all these things get accomplished, your home will be happy for years and years to come.

Feel free to print off the checklist and make it part of your goals this year!

home-maintenance-checklist